“Baseball–Scott Boras–Letter to New York Times
Player Agent Scott Boras says it is time for the US to do, what Korea and Taiwan have done, reopen baseball camps and open the season.
He wrote an extensive letter that became an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, about how important a role baseball can play to help America feel good about itself.
All this while the death rates rocket in baseball hotbeds like Boston and Chicago, and fears and threats a 2nd explosion of the virus-crisis could be coming to the Midwest and South.
Take a read of what one of the most influential people in baseball has to say:
By Scott Boras
Mr. Boras is an attorney for baseball players.
May 5, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET
In some of America’s darkest moments, the country has turned to Major League Baseball to bring hope and normalcy back to everyday life.
It happened after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when President Franklin Roosevelt issued what became known as the “Green Light Letter” to Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. President Roosevelt wrote, “I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going.” He even surprised the team owners by requesting more night games, not fewer, as a source of relaxation and escape for weary workers coming home from their wartime shifts.
Nearly 60 years later, baseball again helped reassure the nation after the Sept. 11 attacks. In the first game back in New York, 10 days after the towers fell, Mike Piazza’s home run in the eighth inning became a potent sign that our healing had begun. The very next month, we all felt the gravity of the moment as President George W. Bush walked onto the field at Yankee Stadium before the first World Series game in New York since the attacks. Alone and secretly wearing a stiff bulletproof vest, he climbed to the top of the mound and fired a strike. The pain of those we lost would never leave, and the rebuilding was only just beginning. But at that moment America, as an idea, roared back to life.
Time and time again, baseball has helped our country heal. Whether it be David Ortiz giving a speech to rally a city after the Boston Marathon bombing or the A’s and Giants aiding a jittery Bay Area after a deadly earthquake that interrupted the 1989 World Series, baseball has been there in times of loss to help our country and our cities move forward.
Now we have lost nearly 70,000 in our nation to Covid-19, each a tragedy beyond words. A growing number of us have found ourselves unemployed without warning, and with each passing day the fear and hunger will continue to rise for those in need. Nearly all Americans continue to make sacrifices. Some on the medical front lines have made the ultimate sacrifice. The “safer at home” policies our experts and federal officials recommended, and our state and local governments instituted, undoubtedly saved lives and prevented even worse devastation across the country.
However, we face a challenge in the coming weeks and months: How do we harmonize the concerns of health experts with the unwanted effects of those public health efforts? Experts believe we need isolation and social distancing, but that has led to lost jobs, increased stresses of every type and a diminishing of the social tapestry that binds and enhances our lives. After many weeks of following safer-at-home protocols, people are understandably restless and looking for an outlet.
It is time again for baseball to serve. The political universe, including President Trump; the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell; Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York; Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois; and Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, have voiced an interest in the return of the game this summer when the time is right. Dr. Anthony Fauci, channeling the sentiment that President Roosevelt expressed in 1942, said in a recent interview that having “the great American pastime be seen” would help the mental health of the country.
In a recent study, nearly 170 million people age 12 or older identified themselves as M.L.B. fans — the highest number in the past 25 years. The first full month of the 2020 regular season has slipped off the calendar without a pitch thrown. However, baseball can and should start up again soon to provide a release for our country desperately in need of live sports entertainment.
I am in constant communication with players, owners and front-office executives, and from what I am hearing, they are focused on getting baseball back. Even before we know when, where and how we will have an Opening Day, we should give players the chance to ramp up for Major League competition. Like many others, they are doing their best to make things work without access to the ballparks that are their “offices.” But the best basement batting cage or backyard mound can’t give world-class hitters and pitchers the game-speed preparation they need.
The first step is to return the players to spring training-style camps as soon as possible. Players want to be with their teams now, safely preparing for the season by using established processes and procedures approved by public health officials. However, this would be a spring training unlike any other. Players would have to be in a “functional isolation,” separated from the public and their families as they prepare.
Players must feel safe when they return, and they understand that they would be in a controlled environment where they could be evaluated by the medical staff each day. The numerous medical experts I have spoken to recommend clubhouses be sanitized daily, and that masks, latex gloves and hand sanitizer should be standard in each one. Major League Baseball, with the understanding that the medical needs of our country’s population comes first, will need to contract with a testing company to make this all safe for approximately 1,600 players, plus coaching staffs, groundskeepers, umpires and other officials.
It will be challenging to do this all at once, but it can be accomplished with staggered reporting dates. Pitchers and catchers would report first, then the position players would come in the next wave, followed days later by the prospects and depth players.
Other nations and leagues can provide helpful models for how to accomplish a return to action and keep players safe. Professional baseball is being played today in Taiwan and South Korea, and players have reported that they feel safe and protected in their environment. We can do it here, and for the sake of America, we should.
While initially the fans won’t be there in person, M.L.B.’s stars can shine brightly on TV screens across the United States and across the world this summer and fall. Televised games each day and night can give fans a unifying feeling, something to look forward to, something to discuss, something to live vicariously through and a reason to cheer. The millions of baseball fans in America can continue to do a small part for the nation by staying at home, while enjoying a sense of hope and normalcy from watching the game we love.